Title: Silver Lining
Category: Episode Tag
Spoilers: The Curse
Pairing/Character: Daniel and Janet friendship, includes Jacob and Sam.
Summary: Even in tragedy there is always the silver lining.
Warnings: mentions of Daniel/Sha're and Daniel/Sarah, past-tense.
A/N: Written for Audrey Lynne. Challenge: a trip to Egypt, Paul Davis, Jacob Carter, a cat. Do NOT include in the story: prefer no slash, prefer no Sam/Jack. Thanks to auroa_novarum for the beta and to meg_tdj for running the ficathon.
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
He'd never thought he would return here again.
Daniel stared at the hieroglyphs that lined the temple walls. Once, he could have spent days lost in a temple like this, immersed in the stories and tales that unraveled across the stone walls. Now, after all he had seen, heard, and experienced, the luster of Egyptian culture had started to fade, leaving him with the starts of bitter curiosity tainted with pain and hardship.
What lay beyond the stars is what pulled him now.
After another lingering pause, Daniel broke himself from the hieroglyphs and moved toward the next room in the temple. There, Jacob was already unpacking the gadgets he'd brought along with him. Some were familiar to him while others were not. Daniel found himself vaguely curious as to how Jacob was able to smuggle everything into Egypt, but he decided now wasn't the time to dwell on it. Major Davis had probably smooth talked someone into giving them more leeway.
"Give me a hand?" Jacob asked as he bent over the case. "I don't want any prying eyes to catch sight of this."
Daniel nodded and grabbed one end of the case. "Where?"
Jacob motioned with his chin to a dark corner of the room. "We'll stash it there for now. Selmak knows these places inside out. There's a compartment right behind that pedestal. The Egyptian government still has this area sectioned off anyway, but that's never stopped grave robbers before."
"Right." Daniel decided not to share the many times he'd slipped through the Egyptian authorities just to "take a peek." With a grunt, he lifted his side of the case and moved with Jacob.
They made short work of the task, easily slipping the case into the compartment. Daniel was still watching it disappear when Sam and Janet entered the room.
"How's Steven?" Daniel asked.
"Good. His condition is steadily improving," Janet said. "As soon as we're done here, he should be ready to be transported back to the States."
Daniel let out a sigh of relief. He'd already visited him twice at the nearest hospital. Luckily for all of them, Steven kept fading in and out of consciousness. Daniel hadn't come up with a suitable cover story for him yet, but he knew they'd think of something. He just hoped Steven would buy it.
He was never going to be able to explain Sarah.
"Need any help?" Sam asked as she approached them.
Daniel caught the uneasiness in her eyes and wondered if she was changing the subject for his benefit. But he didn't really have time to dwell on it. Jacob was all business.
Jacob shook his head. "Danny and I are all set here. But we need to get going." He motioned for the three of them to join him. "I want to have this place checked before anyone comes poking around."
Daniel frowned at the sight of the devices that Jacob withdrew, even more puzzled when he handed one to him.
"They're like the ones you've used before," Jacob told him. "But more powerful. They should pick up any trace signatures from Goa'uld technology."
Sam leaned closer to Jacob, her gaze settling on the device in his hands. "What are we looking for?"
"It's called the Claw of Bastet. You'll know it when you see it," he said dryly.
"Bastet?" Daniel blinked. "What--?"
"Ancient rivalry," Jacob explained. "Isis and Osiris stole her Claw and it's been missing ever since. Let's just say the Tok'ra would be very happy to get their hands on it."
Daniel nodded, but he wasn't entirely convinced. He could already see a dispute between the SGC and the Tok'ra over collection of this Claw and that didn't even taken into account any resistance from the Egyptian government. And none of those scenarios sounded pleasant to him.
But that was all neither here nor there. Daniel was far more interested in finding out what kind of relationship Bastet had with Isis and Osiris. He didn't really want to think about anything else.
"We'll split into two teams," Jacob said. "Sam and I will take the right corridor." He pointed to the second hall. "You take the left. And remember," he said, his voice firm. "Don't open anything without me and Selmak around, you hear me?"
Again Daniel nodded, turning to the left corridor. He watched Sam and Jacob disappear into the darkness, leaving him with Janet as they started to explore on their own.
Daniel didn't say much. He gave the tracking device to Janet while he kept his eyes peeled for anything that seemed out of the ordinary. But he wasn't able to stay concealed in the safety of silence for long.
"I'm sorry that—"
"It's okay," he said, keeping his gaze focused forward. "We need to find this artifact anyway."
From the corner of his eye, he could see her nod. "What's the Claw of Bastet?"
"Well, Bastet always had an affinity with cats." He poked his head into of the adjacent rooms, took a quick inventory, and rejoined her in the hall. "We should look for anything feline in nature – a statue, a wall decoration, a…"
He allowed his voice to trail off as he studied a set of hieroglyphic characters etched on the wall to his right. The story told of the day Osiris triumphed over death only to rise again.
He scowled, his face dark with anger.
Daniel jumped from Janet's hand on his shoulder.
"It's not your fault," she said.
Daniel didn't care. He couldn't deny the disturbing trend in his life. It seemed like every woman he cared about, whether romantically or not, had been taken from him. There was Sha're. Now Sarah. Even Sam hadn't been spared.
He didn't care if there was a distinction between Goa'uld and Tok'ra. The fact remained that anyone associated with him could not escape the inevitable.
"It's like I'm cursed," he said quietly.
"Cursed? Daniel, don't be ridiculous."
He started, surprised by her tone. When he turned to face her, he saw her stern but kind face.
"You know as well as I do that what happened to Sarah was not your fault. Someone would have been taken as a host no matter what." Her face softened. "It just happened this way."
Daniel sighed. He knew it. His reasonable and rational side knew he had no control over what had happened. But the pain was too raw, too fresh.
He didn't want to deal with the consequences right now. He just wanted to get the job done.
The tracking device started to flash.
Janet immediately held up the device and scanned the room. The two of them moved to the end of the hall, slipping into a small dank room by the wayside. As its blinking became more insistent, they both moved to back of the chamber. Daniel ran his hands over the length of the wall, searching for any kind of switch. He knew the artifact had to be in here.
Then he saw it. A glyph that stood out ever so slightly from the rest.
He pressed it.
The wall shook, grinding as the stone gave way, revealing the contents inside.
Daniel darted over to the far wall, feeling his heart start to pound as he picked up the small statuette. It was an exquisite piece, shaped from marble with jeweled eyes. But light. He shook it, hearing the jingling inside.
"It's hollow," he said, frowning as he searched for a way to open it.
He bobbed his head up to catch Janet's worried gaze. For a brief second, he was confused by the nervousness in her eyes, but then he realized what was running through her mind.
"It's not like the others," he said, returning to examine the artifact. "This is too ornate and small to hold a symbiote."
"We should contact the others just to be sure," she suggested.
Daniel glanced back down at the artifact. He knew she was right. Maybe then they could at least get some answers. After withdrawing his radio, Daniel touched base with Sam and Jacob, agreeing to meet them back in the room they had initially started from. When they arrived, he didn't miss the eagerness in Jacob's – or maybe that was Selmak's – eyes.
Jacob relieved him of the artifact, examining it in the same detail that Daniel had done only moments ago. "This is it," he said proudly.
"Just why is this so important, Dad?" Sam asked.
Jacob pressed his fingers to the two jeweled eyes, pushing them in. There was a snap and a pop; the bottom of the artifact opened. He grinned.
"It was rumored that Bastet had a stash of chemical compounds hidden away on a secret planet. She came to Earth to hide the Intel that leads to those chemicals. Only, Osiris and Isis intercepted her plans and hid them for themselves. It's something that the Tok'ra have wanted for a long time."
Janet frowned. "Chemicals? What kind of chemicals?"
"We don't know. Not yet, anyway. This should give us a better idea of what the Goa'uld might have been stockpiling before Ra lost Earth." He held up the memory crystal that slipped out of the statuette. "If it's something valuable, we might be able to use it against the Goa'uld."
Daniel listened in silence. While he was on board with anything they could use to stop the Goa'uld, he still felt uneasy. Now Sarah was out there somewhere. He wanted to make sure they used every resource, every option before they did anything drastic.
He watched as Jacob pocketed the crystal. He and Sam moved back to the pedestal and withdrew the case. He gazed on numbly as they started to pack. He knew that this was it. They would be heading back to the States and back to the SGC. But it wouldn't be the same.
Every time he went through that Gate, he'd think of Sarah. He'd think of what was happening to her. He'd think of what happened to Sha're.
He'd think of everyone else he cared about.
Daniel felt a hand on his arm. "I know this hard," Janet said softly. "But look at it this way. Because of all SG-1 has done, you at least have the ability to save her one day, something you would have never been able to do if you weren't involved in the program." She squeezed his arm. "And we're here by your side to make that happen."
Daniel turned to her and looked into her eyes. He could see the sincerity there and he found himself smiling in response. It wasn't a full smile, but at least it was genuine. "Thanks, Janet."
She grinned in return and for a moment, Daniel did feel like everything would be okay one day. When he glanced back at the crumbling ruins of Osiris' temple, he knew that he'd just have to be patient and wait for that day to come.